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SAN JOSE-The city of San Jose is planning a major development of its downtown area, to the delight of city leaders and dismay of many citizens.

The city plans to spend nearly $2 billion to improve its downtown area, including a brand-new City Hall and large commercial and retail center. City leaders and redevelopment staff are moving forward full blast with this redevelopment plan, but problems are arising and doubtful residents of the area are voicing concerns. The redevelopment project is expected to draw thousands of new residents into the downtown area, which may be great news for the government but a hassle for citizens.

The first set-back occurred when the City Council’s September date to review a proposed contract to seal $1 billion in downtown development was pushed back to December.

Construction on the $320-million City Hall in the center of downtown San Jose, which was expected to begin next month, has been delayed by a ruling of the California Sixth District Court of Appeals. The construction is on hold until all legal issues are resolved.

A group of citizens gathered at a recent San Jose City Council meeting to insist that the city minimize a proposed housing drive, which San Jose residents say will allow the city to acquire private property through eminent domain. In addition, citizens have been protesting against city officials for allegedly misusing public funds to build City Hall.

Voters approved a referendum that allowed the city to build a New City Hall five years ago. However, it states that the city could not spend more on the project than it would cost to maintain the old building and leasing space for agencies that no longer fit. The city claims that by building a new space, it can save $100 million by consolidating its agencies. The cost estimates for the project range from $200 million to more than $300 million, with the cost of the delays increasing the number every day.

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